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Sugar House Journal

Play-in game victory secures spot at state for Highland girls basketball

Mar 06, 2019 12h04 ● By Josh McFadden

Kaija Glasker drives around her opponent during a game this season. (Justin Adams/City Journals)

By Josh McFadden | [email protected]

In Region 6 girls basketball, the Highland Rams and Skyline Eagles battled for the final playoff spot for a good part of the year. So, it’s fitting that the two teams met at the end of the regular season to decide which squad would move on to state.

But once wasn’t enough.

Thanks to Highland’s thrilling regular-season-ending victory over Skyline in double overtime on Feb. 12, 57-55, the two rivals finished the region campaign tied for fourth place in Region 6 with a 3-7 mark. It was Highland’s second-straight win following a losing streak of seven games. In the victory over the Eagles, Highland’s Olivia Beckstead had a game-high 20 points, including six three-pointers. She also recorded four steals and was part of a Ram defense that limited Skyline to just four points in the fourth quarter and four points in the second overtime. Chelsey Cowburn and Kaija Glasker each added 13 in the critical victory. Glasker also cleaned the boards with nine rebounds. 

Because Skyline defeated Highland in the teams’ earlier victory, the squads met three days later for a play-in game to determine which school would advance to the state tournament. The game, played at West High School, was a defensive struggle. It also featured a late Highland comeback that led to a 38-32 for the Rams and a ticket to the playoffs.

Highland’s defensive effort carried over from the second half of the previous game, as it limited Skyline to four points in the first quarter. Highland led by five heading into the second quarter, but Skyline founds its groove and outscored Highland 23-15 over the next 12 minutes of game time. 

The Rams had some ground to make up as the fourth quarter began, trailing 27-24.

That’s when the offense and defense both stepped up at the right time, sending Highland to the state tournament for the sixth straight season. Highland outscored Skyline 14-5 in the fourth quarter to secure a 38-32 victory. Bri Neeleman led the Rams with 11 points. She was the only Highland player to score in double figures, though Cowburn and Glasker each had nine points. Highland managed 10 field goals (the same number as Skyline), but the team hit 18 of 23 free throws. 

These two wins over Skyline matched the Rams up with Box Elder in a first-round state tournament game Feb. 19 at Salt Lake Community College where they fell 23-36. Box Elder won Region 5 and entered the playoffs with an overall record of 16-6. The Eagles were 10-12 overall during the regular season.